Estimated reading time: 8 mins
Certain attributes will always dictate how successful you are as an entrepreneur, such as how you think, analyse data, and make informed decisions. However, you must build processes around these essential characteristics if you’re going to grow your business and build the foundations of a global empire.
Each principle should be relevant not only to the company at a particular stage of its lifecycle but all the time, regardless of the situation. In short, it’s vital to implement the keys to your success at any point of your business’ life and have the confidence that they’ll get you out of a rut.
Some entrepreneurs have been in the game so long that they understand what their organisation requires based on a handful of basic stimuli. Others find the process a lot more challenging because they don’t have the necessary experience to fall back on when attempting to expand.
If you fall into the latter category, there’s no reason to worry. Aside from learning the craft over time, you can use the following core principles of growing a business to bridge the gap. The following six techniques stand out across the board as they pop up again and again over time.
Cash Flow Is Life
Cash is king in pretty much every culture in the world, and the business world is no different. For those with liquidity, the chances of staving off bankruptcy and becoming another statistic are incredibly high. That’s because, with money in the bank, you can pay off creditors, pay for raw materials, and pay and attract quality workers.
Unfortunately, 600,000 SMEs are forecast to fail in 2020 alone. Yes, the Coronavirus pandemic will play a part, yet there is also another glaring factor – businesses inability to manage their money. What makes it hard to watch is that the solution is very straightforward.
Working from a strict and detailed budget will save you a lot of grief in the long-term, and it’s not as if you require a professional accountant. Merely noting your income and outgoings, and being truthful about your monthly expenses, will provide you with the big financial picture.
Another tactic is to invest in the golden entrepreneurial rule that is, “only spend money to make money.” The key is to gauge whether the expense is worth the investment. If it is, you can class it as revenue. If it isn’t, it’s a pure expense that will negatively impact the company’s liquidity, and therefore, bottom line.
Products/Services Must Add Value Immediately
Growing a business involves many things, one of which is to repurpose existing products and services for a different market, or create entirely new ones. Whichever route you take, it’s crucial that you search for the added value in the market and focus your energy on providing as much of it as possible.
Typically, businesses release items that they believe will become a massive hit, only to realise that it’s quickly going to be a dud. The reason? It’s because you didn’t satisfy the immediate needs of your target bases, and consumers in general. Without targeting a gap in the industry, you won’t be able to solve a problem or make their life better, which will make your products and services counterproductive.
You can’t be reactive and hope that your previous strategy will work once you expand into new markets. After all, customers are individuals, and their traits change based on their location, gender, race, and societal norms. With that in mind, it’s worth localising your existing offerings so that they fit the requirements of the audience.
An easy-yet-effective technique is to craft marketing materials in the native language of the people who you’re trying to convert. English might be international, yet advertising hits harder when it’s not confusing or complicated to digest. Ask yourself this question: “are you speaking your customers’ language?”
Price Fairly And Competitively
It sounds odd to remind you that you shouldn’t leave money on the table, but businesses do it regularly when they fail to price their products and services correctly. Of course, it’s evident for all to see, especially when the company is small to medium in size. As an establishment that’s attempting to establish itself in the industry, you try and gain notoriety by slashing your prices.
Although this can be helpful in the short-term, it will have adverse long-term effects. Firstly, it could have the opposite effect if shoppers see through your thinly veiled efforts to lure them into a sale. Secondly, it’s not a sustainable way to conduct business as you’ll regularly lose money if your prices are incorrect.
Even if you reduce the amount by a couple of pence, that means you need to generate 50% to 100% more leads and convert a large percentage of them to turn a profit. It’s much easier to price your products fairly by analysing the market, your competitors, and the hole they plug than it is to undercut your rivals.
Remember that, if you can’t find a reason to bump up the value, your offerings won’t have a USP. As such, they won’t have the wow factor that customers crave.
Surround Yourself With Smart People
Sometimes, you don’t want to be the smartest person in the room, but you want people to think that you are clever. Other times, you want to be the smartest and don’t want anybody to recognise the fact. Whatever the circumstance, you always need shrewd associates around you to spot patterns and flaws and pick up on the things that you miss.
As straightforward as this sounds, tonnes of entrepreneurs actively dismiss this rule. One reason is that they hate to admit that there are people who are more intelligent as it limits their thirst for control. Another is money. To hire the best people, you’ve got to pay them a healthy sum, or else they’ll go elsewhere.
While this is often true, it isn’t the case all the time. Outsourcing, for instance, can ensure that you have your own departments without paying for the overheads. By investing in everything from managed IT services to customer service assistance and analytic insights, you will benefit from being online 24 hours a day, a heightened reputation, and action data.
As a rule, outsourcing is cheaper since dedicated third-parties can channel their resources into a single service, as opposed to funnelling them across various areas of the company. As a result, the standard tends to be similar if not better than what you get from in-house solutions.
Prepare To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone
When you think of one rule to live by as an entrepreneur, it’ll focus on working hard. After all, putting in the hours is how the likes of Gates, Zuckerberg, and Bezos founded multibillion-dollar businesses. The latter famously works over one-hundred hours every week. The thing is, everyone who is successful works hard, and like everything else, it plateaus.
If this is the case, what sets the successful entrepreneurs out from the mid-level bosses and managers? The answer is that they are prepared to step out of their comfort zone. As a business owner, you’re in charge of the entire process, which means you can’t specialise in one area like regular workers.
Therefore, say you’re a whizz with numbers, you will need to figure out how to become a wordsmith so that your company creates quality advertising campaigns. Alternatively, if you’re a budding English student, you should get ready to familiarise yourself with standard IT terms.
To expand a business is to step out of your comfort zone. If you’re not prepared to do that, then the likelihood of running a successful organisation will take a big hit.
Selling Is A Key Skill
Recently, there has been a lot of talk about how you need to make customers feel comfortable and adhere to their moral position to be successful. This is true to some extent, mainly as consumers are more impatient and unwilling to listen to what businesses have to say. However, it glosses over an essential point – selling is, and always will be, the most important skill.
Without the ability to convert leads into customers, you’ll lack the turnover of shoppers required to keep the doors open. One thing you must consider is how to sell yourself, too. The products and services are pivotal, yet you’re the face of the company.
This means people react to your personality, opinions, and actions. Customers will gladly bounce as soon as they land if they don’t like the look of your face. They can judge you based on the opinion of others without giving you an opportunity, too.
That requires you to stay on point and market yourself as a brand and thought leader. To do this, you must stay up to date with recent changes in the industry and provide insightful thoughts into their impacts. Also, it always pays to dress sharply and never appeared cluttered.
Your wardrobe reflects the characteristics of the company. Don’t you want your outfits to tell customers and clients that you’re professional and trendy?